Pubdate: Tue, 25 Mar 2003
Source: Prince Rupert Daily News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2003 Sterling Newspapers Ltd.
Author: Natalie de Boo


The cross section of age, culture, and diversity at the Prince Rupert 
Cinemas last night was not for the latest blockbuster or anticipated Oscar 

It was for something a little more closer to home -- drug abuse and the 
politics that surround the massive problem.

Prince Rupert sent a message last night -- drug abuse is a big concern as 
hordes of people sold out the theatre for the one-night only showing of the 
FIX: The Story of an Addicted City.

"Northern communities want to know what's happening, because there is this 
whole trend of people from small communities heading to Vancouver for the 
big smoke, the Mardi Gras -- you know, for the black glamour of it all," 
said Nettie Wild, the filmmaker behind FIX. "But there is this horrible 
saying about Vancouver -- that people go there to party and come home and 
die. And that's what's actually happening. We (Vancouver) are the source of 
drugs in North America."

Wild explained that virtually all the people she interviewed for the film 
were from small communities. For them getting addicted to drugs is just the 
start of their problems. In a world like East Hastings, many can look 
forward too being infected with Hepatitis C or HIV.

"A lot of them are from little tiny communities and a lot of them are First 

The amount of children and teenagers that littered the crowd was bigger 
than Vancouver or Victoria, said Wild. She was moved by the diverse crowd 
and the amount of concerned parents who brought their kids out to watch her 
graphic portrayal of heroin use on the streets.

Wild explained that Prince Rupert has now changed her mind on what she 
thinks her viewing audience should be. Up until now it has been 
adult-based. She made a point to go around and talk to all the parents in 
the room so they knew what they were getting into.

"Prince Rupert may have changed my mind because I didn't see parents 
bringing kids here because they didn't have a baby-sitter. I didn't see 
laziness, I saw intent," said Wild.

"There was this one lady -- a First Nations working class mom, who brought 
15 members of her family. She told me very specifically that she wanted her 
kids to see how bad Vancouver is and she also said that some of her nieces 
and nephews are already in trouble."

And watch they did. As many parents and adults turned their heads to the 
disturbing scenes of heroin addicts shooting up, it seemed the young 
members of the audience watched on unflinchingly.

"I wanted to come see the movie because drugs is such a big problem 
everywhere," said 17 year-old Mitchell Myers, a Grade 11 student at Charles 
Hays Senior Secondary School. "I have never seen people shooting heroin, 
but I have seen poverty -- people in alleys and stuff like that.

"It's good to let people know what's going on on topics like this. Just 
like poverty, it is good to let people know what's happening."

Dale McKinnon, program director for the Prince Rupert Addiction Services, 
who was part of an after-viewing forum addressing drug abuse in Prince 
Rupert, agreed.

"It's a poverty issue. I was surprised to see how many people did come 
out...," said McKinnon. "Alcohol is the biggest presenting drug in our 
clinic, I would like to see a movie about that."

But McKinnon wasn't convinced the heroin problem in Prince Rupert brought 
the hundreds to the local cinema.

"It is still here but it's not like you walk down the street and people are 
shooting up," said McKinnon. "They know it's here. However, cocaine use has 
been steadily increasing in Prince Rupert and that also goes for 
meth-amphetamines. Fortunately heroin use has been slowing some what. In 
1993 we had 19 deaths from heroin alone ? that's a huge number and I think 
somewhere along the line, something good is happening."
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MAP posted-by: Larry Stevens